Its always rewarding when you can come to the table with an original idea, and even better when you’re the newest person there. Our Volunteer Trek Projects, or VTPs for even more confusing acronyms, follow a format that isn’t the same as other treks you’ve heard about…
As a still new(ish) NGO, NERF is always on the look out for new approaches and new partners to work with. Through meetings with the also newly founded Britain and Nepal NGO network, (BRANNGO) we connected with the heads of The Pahar Trust Nepal, (PTN) in the UK and Nepal. The first meeting was at their 20th anniversary in Pokhara, the second, (and frankly much more productive one) was over a few beers Lakeside last year…
“ Another fantastic one-take Vlog, that due to data loss, you’ll never see…but it was definitely fantastic “
When we met up with the PTN country team for the first time in their office in Pokhara we quickly got to the stage where we were not only agreeing the basics, but developing the model. For example adding in tree-planting by trekkers in schools, trees that would bear fruit and could be cared for by students as biology projects and sold to provide materials for the school.
Open, friendly, with a constructive and collaborative minded approach PTN have turned out to be exactly the kind of people NERF wants to work with. In general the charity sector is very open-minded and welcoming, however, after some time you will encounter the spectre of personal ‘fief-doms’ and an attitude that can perhaps be best summed up as ‘over-protective’.
Naturally when you work hard at something, you want to protect it, and until you know and trust another person or organisation it will be difficult to let anybody in, and of course the first priority is the safety and well-being of the people in your working areas. That’s why its so important to get down to the nitty-gritty, to get into the field, to speak to everybody you can and both demonstrate your values, ethos and approach and evaluate others. This is also helps make sure you correctly gauge everybody’s level of commitment and agenda.
By the end of our second day out in the field with PTN we were pretty sure we’d overcome any, (or at least most…) doubts. We filmed several extremely informative Vlogs, precisely outlining the issues and coping strategies, that unfortunately, due to data loss, you’ll never see. However you can trust me when I say they were one-take masterpieces. If you want to see things first hand, you’ll have to come along on one of our treks ;)
So instead here’s a slideshow of the excellent school facilities, provided by the PTN with support from CAIRN (another organisation we’ve been working with closely for BRANNGO). This school included rounded table edges so that children don’t hurt themselves, detailed posters with more information than I learnt in primary school and extensive Enlish and Nepali libraries.